Year Two of our Desert Garden Project

In 2022, we planted over 100 trees, grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and seedlings across a 10-acre plot of desert land. Here’s how it went, and what we plan to do next.

Billimarie Lubiano Robinson
For Every Star, A Tree

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Part 12 in our For Every Star, A Tree publication.

Long shot of a woman in a hand-dyed indigo long-sleeve dress, walking across a vast desert, blue skies and clear mountains in the distance
Walking through the “For Every Star, A Tree” garden and glampsite. (Photograph by Tiffany Luong)

In the desert, you can smell the rain before it comes.

We’ve been blessed with two weeks of intermittent rain here in California.

In two days, we were able to capture 1,000 gallons of rainwater.

An abundance of rain.

The passing of the storms coincides with the arrival of the Lunar New Year, signaling a bountiful spring. It’s a good time to take a moment and reflect on where we’ve been with our desert garden project, For Every Star, A Tree.

You can use your arrow keys to navigate through the slideshow. 2022 Year In Review (Download)

2022 was “Year 2” of this journey.

Still in its infancy, we’ve been growing this small sanctuary and garden in the Los Angeles desert. Our goal is simple:

  1. Cultivate the land, and
  2. Host visitors.

“Where off-grid hospitality meets eco-spirituality.”

Our hope is to grow a 10-acre green oasis as a poetic gift for the next generations to come.

We believe in positive climate stories, inspired localized action, and embodying the tenants of true hospitality whenever and however we can.

Last year, we were able to:

🌲 Plant approximately 100 shrubs, evergreens, fruits, wildflowers, sprouts, and other plants

🚌 Invest in and renovate a tiny house bus: the Starry Night Skoolie

🏕️ Host 15 eco-friendly glamping stays

🙋🏽 Welcome 15 local and regional community visitors

🐶 Cared for over 5 stray dogs that were abandoned in the desert

💧 Setup a water storage system capable of holding 2,200 gallons for irrigation

⚡ Store approximately 10kWh of electricity via our upgraded solar/electric system

⭐ Become a Hipcamp “Star” Host

☄️ Host a stargazing party (with VISIT DARK SKIES’ guided audio tour)

💖 …and make some unforgettable, magical memories with some very special people.

2022 Year In Review (Download)

You’re invited to join us.

You can follow along and support our journey by visiting, touring, booking a glamping stay on the Starry Night Skoolie, or sponsoring a tree to receive updates on how it’s doing.

For 2023, we set a lofty stretch goal: plant 5,000 grasses, sprouts, trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and other plants on the land.

Our Stretch Goal for 2023: Plant 5,000 trees, shrubs, grasses, fruits, wildflowers, and veggies. (2022 Year In Review)

A huge thanks to everyone near and far who have supported our little project in the desert so far. We’re looking forward to spring, and breathing in deep to catch a whiff of the next rain.

In closing, here’s a quote from one of my favorite poets:

The rains sweep the sky from end to end. Jasmines in the wet untamable wind revel in their own perfume. The cloud-hidden stars thrill in secret. Let me fill to the full my heart with nothing but my own depth of joy. (Tagore, “Poem III”)

Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this, you’ll also like the “Flow the Desert” essay series, where I wrote articles for each milestone in our Desert Garden project. It starts with the conception and will end one day with its completion.

You’ll also enjoy the “Thinking About Pipe Dreams” blog post, a Cornell Small Farms presentation on “Our Family’s Food Forest,” and a YouTube video featuring “Our Desert Garden Tour.”

Billimarie Lubiano Robinson is a wandering artist and writer.

From 2011 to 2015, she traveled around the U.S. with her pink 1950’s Royal typewriter and typed hundreds of spontaneous #FreePoetry poems for strangers on the spot. Well-versed in the art of reckless wandering, Billimarie has backpacked Hawaii, hitchhiked the West, lived in a Parisian bookstore, and survived a Swedish winter alone in the remote wilderness. Her work has appeared in FIYAH, the Newer York, the Northridge Review, Marías at Sampaguitas, Pussy Magic, the Eastern Iowa Review, as well as on her websites: Billimarie.com and TypewriterPoetry.com.

Billimarie currently lives with her daughter in the Los Angeles desert on an RV bus and art studio called the Starry Night Skoolie. She has spent the last two years planting trees and maintaining a tiny native forest. This is For Every Star, A Tree.

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